This coming Tuesday (May 11, 2010) will be a red letter day in the history of NASCAR as the brand new Hall of Fame located in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina will have its Grand Opening. A virtual who’s who in NASCAR is scheduled to be on hand for the festivities.
While looking through the HOF’s website I opened the “Inductees” link on the home page and found that five of the sport’s legends make up the first group to be inducted into the Hall. I’m sure all of you are aware of who they are and what their accomplishments are so I’ll just name them without going through a whole lot of hoopla.
Bill France, Sr. Responsible for founding NASCAR and serving as it’s first president and his son, Bill France, Jr. who took over from his father in 1972, serving as President, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR up until 2003 are both rightfully among the first class of inductees. Two of the most successful and influential drivers, Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, plus Junior Johnson, not only a top driver in his own right but also one of the most successful team owners in NASCAR, will also be included. The induction ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 23rd.
NASCAR luminaries expected to be on hand for the Hall of Fame Grand Opening include Bobby Allison, Johnny Benson, Greg Biffle, Todd Bodine, Kurt Busch, Richard Childress, Brian France, Kevin Harvick, Rick Hendrick, Ron Hornaday, Dale Jarrett, Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Joe Nemechek, Richard Petty, Martin Truex Jr., Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip (Gene’s favorite) among others.
This is going to be quite an attraction in uptown Charlotte. I’m really interested in the interactive displays that have been included. This is high tech stuff!
Too bad the old GGW racing crew couldn’t show up together and get in on the interactive racing. Maybe we could get a group rate? Do it during football season so Jon could catch a Panthers game! Yeah, yeah… I know.
Anyway, I understand there are over 150 big screen video displays to take you back through all of the sport’s historic moments. I’m going to have to figure out how to get up there once they’ve worked out the kinks and things settle down. You game Gene?
Alright, now take a look at the inductees page from the Hall’s website:
Follow the links to the inaugural class of potential inductees. I noticed something that I’m sure was purely a coincidence. Do you see it? Many would say that what I’m thinking of was the watershed moment in the history of NASCAR as it drew national attention to the sport that up until then had been essentially relegated to the southeastern part of the country. Is that a good enough clue?
Okay. Look at the first person pictured in the group of 25. Bobby Allison, right? Now look at the last person pictured. Cale Yarborough. The first and last NASCAR luminaries pictured in obvious alphabetical order ended the 1979 Daytona 500 fighting in the infield along with Bobby’s brother Donnie. A national television audience was enthralled with what they’d seen and the rest, as they say, is history.
I don’t know why, but all of that just came rushing up to me when looking at those pictures.
My watershed moment as far as stock car racing (what we called it back in the day) was actually three years earlier at Daytona when David Pearson mixed it up with the King, Richard Petty. I couldn’t believe the last lap!
It's good to put together a NASCAR post. Hope you've all enjoyed it!